Thursday, March 24, 2011

Osaka by day and night part 2

Our adventures continued from the Insshinji Temple to the Tennoji Zoo - which was our original destination if you recall. Unfortunately the zoo was an attraction I could have happily missed despite all our efforts to get there. Without being too negative, lets just say its no Taronga/Dubbo/Seaworld and although there are a huge range of animals, the facilities aren't amongst the best I have seen.

From there we ventured into downtown/old Osaka as S wanted to go up the Tsutenkaku Tower - an Eiffel Tower type structure. The locals say if from where you live, if you can see the Tower then you are a real Osakan.

Now to give you some background, I am not the biggest fan of heights when I am in buildings. I'm not scared of looking down or being on say a Mountain or cliff, I just don't trust engineers I guess and especially hate elevators. So from here on in, my afternoon and evening was amongst the most terrifying of my life (even if I include the Earthquake in that comparison).

So we went up the elevator (glass by the way to make me feel even more nervous) and opened into the 360 enclosed viewing deck. S loves heights and views so was quite happy to meander along photographing and taking in the scenery and views. Me? I was subtly trying to hurry him around the deck without letting on that I was hating this. I enjoyed the view but couldn't get comfortable - although I was momentarily distracted by Billiken. Billiken is the God of luck from what I could figure out so I made a donation and rubbed his feet - being up that high, I figured I needed all the luck I could get!

Back on the ground at last, we stopped for a beer before attempting to walk back to our hotel (the eagle eye view gave us the confidence to negotiate the crazy streets ahead of us). We ended up walking right into DenDen Town, an electronics district that S especially wanted to see so the walking ended up being a good move.

Even better, after our stroll (read marathon), we decided we desperately needed a sit down and freshen up for 30 mins in our room before setting off on our next adventure.

And this is where things got nightmarish for me... first stop for S was the floating sky garden. Me, not understanding quite what this concept was about, happily tagged along to Umeda where I got a very rude shock. The Floating Sky Garden involves a lift up to the 39th floor, an extra long escalator ride over thin air to a circular pod suspended between 2 towers. Sounds awesome doesnt it? Especially when S asks me if I want him to take a pic of me while we are travelling up the escalator. I think I bit his head off and told him not to talk to me. The view when we got up was amazing although I was so busy trying to get around and down to safety that I didn't really enjoy it S on the other hand was thrilled and loved every moment.

Can you believe it though, it got worse! Next on the list was the HEP -5 ... a ferris wheel. Like I said, I hate the engineered heights so ferris wheels are big on my list of hates along with elevators. I figured though that it would be a quick ride and I could suck it up for S' sake. Also figured it couldn't be that big a ferris wheel right in the middle of the city. Yep, I was wrong on both counts! The ferris wheel was already perched 5+ storeys up on a building with the highest point being 106m above ground. Upon boarding our pod, S wanted to discuss how amazing the engineering concept was. I requested we maintain silence and kept my eyes closed for much of the ride, occasionally peeking out at the view which was pretty fabulous.

Utterly drained (and freezing cold) we headed back to our hotel for bed in preparation of an early morning bullet train ride to Hiroshima.

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